My Week in Manga: October 21-October 27, 2013

My News and Reviews

Last week I reviewed Takako Shimura’s Wandering Son, Volume 5. The series is personally very important to me, so I’m always happy when a new volume is released. Sadly, we probably won’t see the next volume until next year. Last week I also posted Discovering Manga: Podcasts Redux. It’s a quick update on some of the podcasts that I’ve listened to and written about in the past. It also outlines my plan to write more podcast posts since my previous ones seem to have been fairly popular. If you have a manga podcast that you think I should check out, do let me know!

On to good stuff found online! A commenter on my recent post Random Musings: Queer Theory, Japanese Literature, and Translation linked to a fascinating article from earlier this year: Talking about (a)sexuality in Japanese. Over at Publishers Weekly, Deb Aoki has a great recap of Manga at New York Comic Con. Misaki C. Kido gives seven reasons Why Felipe Smith Is the Only Mangaka from America (So Far). And some of the most interesting news from last week: Crunchyroll will begin to digitally distribute Kodansha manga, providing access to new chapters the same day they are released in Japan. (Including some titles not previously available in English!) It should be interesting to see how this venture develops.

Quick Takes

Attack on Titan, Volume 8Attack on Titan, Volume 8 by Hajime Isayama. The mystery of the Female Titan has been solved! Or, at least one of the mysteries—the identity of the person is who is controlling it. The reasons behind why and for what purpose are still unknown. For every question that is answered in Attack on Titan it seems as though there are even more to be asked. This particular volume includes a huge (dare I say titanic?) plot reveal which ends with a fantastic confrontation between Hanji and Minister Nick. (As an aside, I love that Hanji is a canonically gender ambiguous character.) One of the major secrets dealing with the walls is literally uncovered, but has yet to be fully explained. Attack on Titan continues to get stranger and stranger. For those who have been watching the Attack on Titan anime but who have thus far been avoiding the manga for one reason or another (I know plenty of people who can’t get past the terribly inconsistent artwork), the eighth volume is where you’ll want to pick the series up if you want to see any more of the story any time soon.

Knights of Sidonia, Volume 4Knights of Sidonia, Volumes 4-5 by Tsutomu Nihei. I am still enjoying Knights of Sidonia, but it frequently strikes me as a peculiar mix of science fiction horror and romantic comedy. But whatever genre it falls into at any given time, I do think the manga is Nihei’s most accessible work to date. Occasionally I still miss his grittier style of illustration, but the cleaner and somewhat simpler artwork in Knights of Sidonia has really grown on me. One of the things that amuses me tremendously is that Nagate is frequently seen stuffing food into his face. This emphasizes how much of an oddity he is compared to the rest of society on the Sidonia. And he is rather odd. His social interactions can be very awkward and often he is completely oblivious to his faux pas until it’s too late. (Let’s just say that it’s fortunate that he heals quickly.) The Gauna continue to be daunting adversaries. While at first they were terrifying enigmas, over the course of the series they have adapted and evolved and have even adopted (or at least mimicked) human technology and tactics, making them even more frightening.

Monster Musume, Volume 1Monster Musume: Everyday Life with Monster Girls, Volume 1 by Okayado. Monster Musume is a harem series that attempts to distinguish itself by featuring monster girls. There is absolutely no question that Monster Musume is an ecchi manga, so unsurprisingly there are a lot of boobs and other bits. (I’m still trying to figure out how a snake can have a camel toe.) Kurusu Kimihito is an average guy who was “volunteered” for an exchange program between human and part-human species. He has become the host family for Miia, a lamia who is overly fond of him (inter-species canoodling is forbidden). Overwhelmed, he is constantly in a state of near-panic. As the first volume of Monster Musume progresses, bad puns and groan-inducing wordplay become increasingly prominent. (I’m one of those odd people who actually appreciates this sort of intentionally and ridiculously terrible dialogue, though.) It’s not at all a deep story—and I do wonder where all the monster boys are—but Monster Musume can actually be rather entertaining on occasion.

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  1. Yeah Monster Musume is part of the growing “cute monster girl” fandom that’s grown in Japan thanks to things like The Monster Girl Encyclopedia ( Also the creator of this series originally did an 18+ web comic based around the protagonist’s relationships with various monster girls.

    I’m hoping later volumes of Monster Musume introduce a Dullahn like they did in the original web comic. Also this series was number one on when it came out

  2. zombies, in highschool of the dead have seen in a good role, on the other hand in kore wa zombie desu ka is a more comical point where it is a zombie but with feelings and actions free, no need to eat a person. I think it all depends on which function you want to give the creator of history.
    speaking of zombies, I prefer the slow if they try to eat me hahaha. I think it would give me more chances to escape or eliminate
    although it is based on following a story I think would be the ”fast-moving zombies”, because it would give more drama or fear of the situation to pass the character.
    (sorry for my bad English >.< )

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